Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Checking Out Tokyo

Monday, September 23 was a holiday, and that means 3-day weekend!
My boyfriend accepted a job in Tokyo, and moved in with his mom and step-dad last month. Even when he was living in my area we rarely met up on the weekends, and only sometimes on 3-day weekends. But, I took a chance that he'd be free and even if he wasn't I planned on meeting my high school friend first. 

He did end up being free and I spent the long weekend with him in Tokyo. Tokyo's an interesting place. Like most big cities, people usually fall into two groups; "Love it!," or "Hate it." Being the capital city, and the largest in Japan means that there is always things to do, but travel is a bitch. I arrived at Tokyo Station and immediately remembered why I hated Tokyo Station; it's a clusterfuck of bodies. 

Have you ever seen those videos of ants just crawling all over each other not giving a shit? Tokyo Station is like that. But the ants have luggage and huge backpacks. Everyone is focused on their own path. Tokyo Station peeps don't give a fuck. Tokyo Station peeps gonna do Tokyo Station peeps. This long weekend brought out all of the people. A bunch of them headed to Makuhari for the Tokyo Games Show.

There's one train that goes to Makuhari, which is actually in Chiba, not Tokyo. To get to that train from the Shinkansen area of the station takes about 15 minutes if you're walking briskly. Your brisk walk is slowed to a crawl because a few stops before Makuhari is Tokyo Disneyland. So now you're trying to catch the express train on time while dodging slow families and their slow kids. The non-express train takes about an hour? hour and a half vs. 45 min for the express train.

I only went to the Game Show for about 30minutes. The plan was to go there and walk around for an hour then go back to Tokyo in time to catch a movie with my friend. What happened was that everyone and their mom was there and the lines were crazy. The tickets were 1,200 yen and after lining up to get tickets, we were put into sections outside. Each section was then let into the venue one at a time. One section was also something like 1,000? 2,000? people. It took about 45 minutes to get inside. 

I'm wondering HOW Tokyo is going to deal with the Olympics. The city is huge and overcrowded right now, but with a few extra million people for the Olympics, it's going to be crazy. The subways are not the easiest to navigate, and on the maps the transfers look easier than they are. Case in point, Tokyo station. I can transfer to a shitload of lines, but nothing NOTHING warns you that it'll take 15 minutes of running through an un-air conditioned station filled with sweaty people to make your transfer. I fear for 2020...

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